Car-Free and Carefree: Ways to Travel Inter-State
How to travel across America without a car
· 2 min read
Are you ready to hit the road and explore all that the United States has to offer, but don't have a driver’s licence (or car) to get you there? Don't worry! There are still plenty of other ways you can travel interstate without a car.
First up, we have the classic option of bus travel. There are many bus operators that can help you with travel easily between major cities at an affordable price, each servicing its own route. Here are two of the biggest players that you should know:
Greyhound Lines and FlixBus
Greyhound has been in operation since 1914, and has one of the largest operators in the US. Greyhound Lines was acquired by Flix SE in 2021, and the two services now work together to provide the most extensive bus network in North America, servicing over 1,900 destinations across US, Canada and Mexico.
You can purchase tickets online from either Greyhound or FlixBus’ websites, and you will be able to see which company is operating the route at the time of purchase. Alternatively, you can purchase the tickets at the stations or at certain stores. Greyhound is also rather prone to passengers who are, well, not-so-pleasant.
WiFi is provided on board buses, but it’s not unlimited — Greyhound allows you to buy packages for additional data. Or get a Nomad esim to help with your data needs 😉
➕ Pros: Better timings, more extensive network coverage, better pick-up locations, slightly better seats
➖ Cons: More prone to weird passengers
Megabus has a smaller network that operates to more than 280 cities in the US. Tickets can only be purchased online. They serve a relatively younger clientele, and although less likely, there is still a chance of having some weird passengers on board. Their services are decent for the price point, and limited complimentary Wi-Fi is also provided on board.
It might be worth noting though that as a smaller operator, Megabus’ pick-up locations tend to be rather sketchy. The bus schedules also tend to be less forgiving.
➕ Pros: Generally cheaper tickets, slightly better clientele
➖Cons: Less convenient pick-up locations and bus timings, less network coverage
If you're looking for something a little more luxurious and scenic, train travel is the perfect choice. Amtrak, the national railway service in the US, offers train travel between major cities. Train travel are more expensive than traveling by bus, and could even be more expensive than taking a flight. But train travel provides a different kind of experience where you will get to enjoy scenic views on your journey, and at a higher level of comfort. Take note that the Amtrak tends to experience delays so if your travel plans are very time-sensitive, this might not be for you.
For those who want to travel quickly between states, flying is always an option. Domestic flights are widely available in the US, and budget airlines like Southwest and JetBlue offer affordable fares. Soar through the skies and enjoy the view from above as you travel from one state to the next. Traveling by flight is probably the quickest mode of transport, though you would also want to factor in the time required to travel to and from the airports, as well as the time required for the check-ins and security checks at the airport.
If you prefer a more personalized and convenient way to travel, ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft can be the perfect fit. Yes, Uber and Lyft allows for long-distance travels, though with some limitations. Lyft has a cap of 100 miles per ride, and while Uber does not have a distance limitation, the rides are limited to a maximum duration of 8 hours. You can easily book a ride with a local driver via the apps, making it a lot more flexible. While it may be way more expensive than other options, it also gives you a lot more convenience and it brings you point-to-point.